Bertone BAT 11

Published: 10 March 2008

What’s new on Bertone’s Geneva Motor Show stand?

Italian coachbuilder Bertone might be in deep financial trouble – it didn’t have a stand at the Geneva show – but its styling division, Stile Bertone, revealed an incredible one-off car on the night of the first press day instead at Auto Design Night, a special event for car designers held at city centre night club La SIP.

The stunningly streamlined BAT 11 doesn’t take its odd name from the bat-like rear wings, but because BAT stands for ‘Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica’ in Italian, the ‘11’ indicating that it is the fourth in a series of one-off Bertone designs for Alfa Romeo following on from the BAT 5, 7 and 9 from the mid-1950s. Why start at 5 though? Apparently the fifth sketch for the original car was the best. All were studies in aerodynamics, unbelievably futuristic and real runners, the BAT 7 achieving an amazing drag coefficient of 0.19 Cd.

An American collector who used to own the BAT 9 commissioned the new Alfa Romeo-badged BAT 11 from Bertone.

The model revealed in Geneva by British design director David Wilkie is just that for now – it has no engine or proper interior aside from a dash and two seats – but exterior designer Valery Mueller Bertone hopes the full production version based on the new Maserati GT platform and V8 engine will be ready for the Paris show this autumn.

CAR highlight

Aside from the stunning looks the running concept should feature hydraulically operated front wheel arches. They flare out when you turn the steering wheel to allow the front wheels to move inside the tight bodywork.

What were they thinking?

Thank heaven for private car collectors who can afford one-offs.  

In a nutshell

One of the stars of Geneva 2008 – but you won’t find it at the show.  


By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator